When to get the second foot done?

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I had bunion and hammer toe surgery on my right foot 11 weeks ago (22/3). My recovery has been good, and at my check-up today my surgeon was keen to get going on my left foot.  My right foot is doing well but is still not competely OK:  I tend to limp after a short distance walking as I can't walk comfortably 'through' the foot.  I have now been prescribed 20 physio sessions which the doctor thinks will rapidly sort out these residual problems - to use his term- but  I am hesistant to go ahead with further surgery at this point. The operation would again be to remove the bunion, sort out the hammer toe and realign the bones. The deformities are severe, and the operation would again be around 2 hours under a general anasthetic.  I would really appreciate the views of fellow sufferers who have been through this experience.  How long should I wait?

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  • Posted

    Hi Amanda,

    I had bunion and 4 hammer toes done 15 weeks ago and have been going to p/t

    for about 5 weeks.  No way would I be ready to have the other foot done at this time.  I still an not "walk through" on my foot and I can't walk an entire grocery store (I use their electric carts).  Everyone is different, but my opinion would be to get totally back to health and your strength back before going through it again.  Good luck with whatever you decide.

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  • Posted

    Hi Amanda, I had a bunion removal (chevron-akin) and plantar plate repair (which included shortening my 2nd toe) almost 11 weeks ago. I am still unable to walk without a limp and have to wear my boot due to nonunion (bone still hasn't healed). Finalky, my nerve pain has lessened and I'm feeling much better. Since every surgery is different, there is no guarantee your recovery will go as smoothly as this one. So, my recommendation is to wait until your first foot has healed properly. In the very least go ahead with the therapy first. Why is the doctor in such a hurry?? Sounds like he wants Money, money, money. He isn't looking out for you!

    Just my two cents.

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    • Posted

      Hi Holly, I think your point about every surgery being different is an important one and, yes, it does worry me that I might not be so fortunate second time around.  I have had no nerve pain as such and the prospect really sounds alarming. I start the physio next week, and will have a long chat with the therapist before taking any decision.  I guess he will have seen many like us!
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  • Posted

    Hi, I don't have hammer toe(s) but did get a lapidus procedure and osteotomy done for my left foot on March 10th. I'm still in crutches and sort of able to walk but can't without crutches but I'm still in a surgical shoe, I think my op was also about 2-2.5 hrs. While my doc said it usually takes 6 months to recover, I don't know yet if my right foot will be able to handle my full weight because I used my left foot to bear my weight for at least the two months I couldn't put my right foot down and that uses a lot of my great toe. Only you know you but discuss with your doctor and see what comes of that.
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    • Posted

      Hi Allison,  since having the operation I have seen several comments like yours that really 6 months is needed to make a recovery and I do wish my doctor had made this clearer beforehand.  It wouldn't have stopped me from going ahead, but it would have been good to have been better mentally prepared for what is a long haul to get back to normality.  I had thought that by 3 months post-op all would be fine, which was definitely over-optimistic even though my recovery has been relatively rapid.  Hope you get rid of the surgical shoe soon - that will make you feel much better! 
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  • Posted

    Hi. You are right to be hesitant. And thank goodness you get physio. I had mine done on my left foot end of January this year. I was planning to have the right foot done in May. It has taken 17 weeks to walk pain and limp free. I couldn't risk having the right one done without the left one fully healed. Mine was also severe. I have planned to have my right foot done end of October. Thereby left foot all better ready for trauma of next one! I have learnt by mistakes how to deal with the next one and physio is right up there and not returning to work too soon like last time. Good luck hope this helps. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Fiona, as you say, we learn from our mistakes!  At least next time I will already have the bed cradle and the waterproof protector for showering instead of having to resort to emergency on-line ordering. And will definitely have the wheelchair lined up from day 1! I take heart that by week 17 you are now able to walk pain and limp free - hopefully the physio will do the trick for me.  All the very best of luck for October, it will be good to have the summer fully mobile before embarking on the next stint.
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    • Posted

      Hi Fiona, as you say, we learn from our mistakes!  At least next time I will already have the bed cradle and the waterproof protector for showering instead of having to resort to emergency on-line ordering. And will definitely have the wheelchair lined up from day 1! I take heart that by week 17 you are now able to walk pain and limp free - hopefully the physio will do the trick for me.  All the very best of luck for October, it will be good to have the summer fully mobile before embarking on the next stint.
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  • Posted

    My surgeon said he wouldn't advise it (I got the same condition although my right foot is not as severe as the left was) until I was pretty well healed.....(at least walking under your own power for at least a month).

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  • Posted

    Amanda I personally had a bad experience I developed hallux rigidus as a, result of surgery, my toes do not move up, it affects everything, my advice would be if it is not completely necessary don't do it, its like they fix one thing but then you have a, different set of problems. I would wait at least a year from 1st surgery before I made my decision to get further surgery get a 2nd, 3rd and 4th opinion, good luck with whatever you decide
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    • Posted

      Hi Mary, I completely agree with you that this is is not an operation to have done unless you really need to do. As others have said, it is easy to underestimate the complexity of the surgery and unfortunately it doesn't always go to plan (which the doctors tend to skate over) as in your case.  On the other hand, I put off doing anything for years, which was probably stupid as my condition worsened in consequence. So now I fear  I have to go on and get the other foot done as otherwise my mobility will get less and less as it gets progressively worse.  Hobson's choice really!  But your advice to get  more than one opinion is absolutely right, as the choice of procedure and the experience of the surgeon is crucial, and it's too late to discover that one or other was lacking after the event.  I do hope your hallus rigidus improves with time. 
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  • Posted

    Just to add to the conversation, I made up my mind from the very beginning to get it done and over with.  I had a lapidus & osteotomies/metatarsal shortening of both feet -- the surgeon said the minimim time between surgeries had to be 3 months so that I'd at least be able to stand up on one foot in order to get around.  I decided to go for it.  That was 7 months and 4 months ago.  I'm still doing physical therapy, still having some difficulty, feet still swollen & sore, but I'm going about business.  I'm not sure what to advise you to do.  It's really hard to deal with having both feet to rehab at the same time because you literally don't have a good leg to stand on lol!  On the other hand, I'm not sure I would have decided to go through with it again at a later date.  I'm thinking and hoping that some time soon I'm going to be glad I got them both over with.  I'm almost but not quite there yet.  Good luck whatever your decision is!  Sounds like you already made it.  I'd so to go with whatever works best for you.

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you, Janice. I'm coming up to the 3 month mark, but really don't feel I can cope with going through it all again quite yet.  For me it's not just the physical constraints (bad as they are) but also the mental impact: I had never had any form of operation before this and found the whole experience far more disorienting and unsettling than I had expected. I wouldn't dare go through a two hour procedure without being under a general anaethestic, but there's no doubt that it has taken me some time to get over its rahter depressing effects. Maybe this will be less problematic second time around though. But overall I do already appreciate the benefits of the work that's been done on my right foot, so  I am determined that I will get the left one done,  it's just the timing of it that's the problem! Not this side of the summer, for sure, but beyond that I am still pondering.....
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